Europe Follows the US with Decline in App Installs: But Why?

While smartphone traffic in Europe has more than doubled between 2014 and 2016, Europeans are becoming less inclined to experiment with new apps. According to a new Adobe Digital Insights report, new and repeated use of mobile apps is starting to plateau in France, Germany and the UK.

The US market has already been seing that trend, where mobile app installs are down by 38 percent since 2014, with a 28 percent decrease in apps opened. In Europe, app use is noticeably plateauing, with app installs declining 5 percent in the same period and the number of apps opened increasing only marginally by 4 percent. Western European markets like the UK and France are expected to see similar declines as the US in the coming years.

  • Half of apps are used more than ten times, meaning of course that the other half aren’t used more than ten times.
  • Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) now account for 7% of all news article clicks globally
  • There was a 896 percent global increase in Google AMP clicks, driven by news around the US presidential election

At first glance it might appear that we’re seeing a resurgence of the mobile web, but initiatives like Google AMP only tell part of the story. Paul Gubbins, a mobile consultant, told VAN that one of the key reasons we’re seeing fewer installs is because of how app developers now market their apps. Whilst app installs were once the holy grail for app developers, now many have come to realise that ‘life time value’ is far more important.

“During the mobile gold rush, app developers were spending millions via ad networks and mobile DSP’s to drive installs of their apps in the hope that organic downloads would follow to get them to the to the top of the app charts. However, in order to drive the volume of installs required, the ad networks and DSP’s used to turn to incentivised environments, where a player might get a free life in a game in exchange for downloading an app,” explained Gubbins.

“Ethically speaking, there is nothing wrong with this approach so long as the advertiser is aware that incentivised downloads are being procured. However, we have also seen statistics suggesting that users who downloaded in this way were quickly deleting the apps from their devices soon afterwards,” he added.

This has resulted in app developers and advertisers deciding to change their buying KPI’s from cost per install (CPI) and cost per download (CPD) to lifetime value (LTV), which Gubbins says has made life harder for DSP’s and ad networks to find audiences, whilst also opening up opportunities for those who can deliver.


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